Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Words - nonsense and otherwise!

inadvertently began a new blog thread on words last week. I suppose it was inevitable in this writing business. The verse from Jaberwocky quoted below is testimony to the brilliance of Lewis Carroll. I remember being given a task years ago when teaching. We were asked to write nonsense words. It was actually harder than I'd first thought and, although I am not keen on the poem, you have to admire the skill.

 Lewis Carroll

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

This topic came from a chance advert for an up and coming poetry reading next month by poet Tony Harrison. His seminal work 'V' is to be read after 11pm because of the nature of some of the words used and swearing that is also contained in the work. Being blessed with a strong sense of curiosity I found that the poet had performed the poem previously and it was recorded on YouTube. The link to part 1  is below:-


This link leads to the other parts of the poem.

 Tony Harrison

The questions that the poem raises are immensely powerful but it would be easy to dismiss the work because of the language. It wouldn't be difficult to re-write the poem without the swearing and racist words but then the point would be missed. The poem is a story of the author's early life and his ancestors and is centred round the graveyard where his family are interred and where he will eventually join them. The graveyard is on a short cut from the local football ground, Elland Road, Leeds, and a housing estate that has probable dwellings for some of the supporters. I recommend you access the poem.

Shenanigans - 

mischief; prankishness: 
deceit; trickery.

I used this word in my writing today. It is the sort of word in everyday use that can lighten your narrative and add the personal touch to your work. It allows the reader to get part way inside your mind rather like Tony Harrison with his words in the poem 'V'

God Bless